2022 Rising Black Designers Scholarship Winners
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July 08, 2022

17 Emerging Designers Receive 2022 Gensler Scholarships

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gensler, an award-winning global architecture, design, and planning firm, is proud to announce seventeen emerging designers have been selected as recipients of the 2022 Gensler Scholarships, which include the Rising Black Designers Scholarship and the Brinkmann Scholarship. This year’s program awarded over $70,000 in scholarships.

The Brinkmann Scholarship for Interior Design

Established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, an inspirational interior designer and former Gensler Principal, the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship celebrates Brinkmann’s career-long commitment to nurturing emerging design talent. This annual program awards tuition scholarships and opportunities for summer internships to students enrolled in U.S. not-for-profit interior design programs. Candidates are evaluated on their analysis and problem-solving skills, design development, graphic presentation, communication skills, and passion.

Tuition Scholarship Recipients

First-place winner, Juliana Schwartz, is a fourth-year student at Kansas State University and is studying Interior Architecture and Product Design. Her education, combined with her experience studying abroad in Copenhagen, gives her a multi-faceted view of design and its ability to impact the human experience. Her compassion for people and their experiences, along with her innate curiosity, drives her passion for design. Feeling the responsibility to engage in the problem-solving we face in the world, Juliana aims to center her design career on seeking solutions for unmet needs through evidence and reason-based design interventions.

Second-place winner Olivia Raynor has been fascinated with the world of interior design and art since she was a young child. A student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Olivia has been influenced by the transformation from nothing to something significant, beautiful, and captivating. She pushes to innovate spaces that drive design that helps and supports others and leverages interior design as a tool to support communities and promote sustainability. She believes design is “about the lives you impact and the spatial relationships you create with users, [which is why] it is a dream of mine to be a part of that journey with Gensler.”

“Don [Brinkmann] was an incredible designer. He reimagined the role and the expectations that came along with it,” says Robin Klehr Avia, Regional Managing Principal for Gensler’s Northeast region. “Juliana and Olivia are talented young designers whose work and innovative processes reflect the creative thinking and artistry of Don’s pioneering work. We are thrilled to support their development through the Brinkmann Scholarship.”

Applications for the 2023 Brinkmann Scholarship will launch in the fall of 2022. To be considered, students must have a letter of recommendation from the dean of their school and submit work representative of their best design skills. 

For more information about the Gensler scholarships program, please visit gensler.com/scholarships or email .  

Gensler Rising Black Designers Scholarship

In 2020, Gensler launched the Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge to help talented design students overcome the costs associated with higher education. This annual program awards tuition scholarships, micro-scholarships for books and materials, and opportunities for summer internships to underrepresented Black students enrolled in U.S. not-for-profit architecture programs.

Tuition Scholarship Recipients

Quinton Mason, a graduate student at the University of Virginia, received first-prize honors and a $10,000 tuition scholarship. The jury awarded the remaining four $10,000 tuition scholarships to Alix Salomon, an undergraduate student at the City College of New York; Miranda Cuozzo, an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame; Dean Bailey, a graduate student at Howard University; and Deron Charlery, a graduate student at the University of Buffalo.

“Our goals can only become a reality when we all come together to make a difference,“ said Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler. “As a global firm of our size, we know our actions can drive meaningful change across the entire industry. Through this awards program, we are able to provide opportunities for Black students, increasing their access to the resources and mentors they need to build careers in architecture and design.”

This year, the tuition scholarship applicants were challenged to respond to one of four prompts that addressed current challenges in society, such as reestablishing trust in public safety; reinventing the human experience post-pandemic; reimagining ways for designers to make a difference; and designing for racial equality and inclusiveness in our practice, communities, and cities.

Quinton Mason, the first-place winner of the Rising Black Designers Scholarship, was confronted early on with the realization that most of the spaces he visits today weren’t designed for people like him. This drives his passion for inclusion and community-driven design as he explores how that can be a direct solution to the biased and financially-driven designs experienced in many places. As Quinton seeks a career working in multidisciplinary design studios, he aims to lead initiatives that promote tackling challenges from various angles, leading to more comprehensive answers which are the key to achieving inclusive design.

For Alix Salomon, finding ways of connecting a building to the past inspires his designs to have a deeper narrative and relationship within the context of their environments and inhabitants. Through analyzing the diverse cultures and rich histories of the sites he works on, designing spaces from the perspective of the public only further enhances the narrative of the story. “Winning this scholarship has reaffirmed my work, which is a marriage between hip-hop and architecture — two cultures on opposite ends of the traditional societal spectrum — in a form that’s appreciated and understood by all,” Alix explains.

Miranda Cuozzo approaches design “with three guiding principles in mind: design should be people-centric and prioritize the pedestrian; beautiful architecture and the dignity that comes with it is not a luxury for the rich, but a human right to which everyone deserves access; and rather than pursuing fleeting whims of the present, architecture should use tried and true lessons from the past to design for a just and sustainable future.” She plans to put these beliefs into practice and wants to contribute to teaching and shaping the next generation of architects and designers.

Dean Bailey is no stranger to Gensler. As a participant in the Gensler Student Design Charrette, Bailey engaged with Gensler mentors for the entire spring studio semester of his fourth year at Howard University. “I have enjoyed getting to learn from so many mentors from Gensler and have many of them to thank for my current level of design thinking and dedication. I hope to continue to grow under the wing of my mentors,” he says. Dean’s skills and determination landed him a coveted spot in this summer’s Walt Disney Imagineering program.

A creative, precocious, and innovative student from the Island of Saint Lucia, Deron Charlery is an aspiring architect who finds it best to “acquire skills that are outside of conventional tools to broaden the ways in which we communicate our ideas.” Passionate about engaging with communities through volunteering and mentorship, he believes that design should work seamlessly between infrastructure, the environment, and human life. Deron joined the Gensler 2022 Summer Fellowship program and is pushing forward research and measurable impact within the firm’s Professional Services practice area.


In addition to the tuition scholarships, ten students were awarded micro-scholarships, which are awards intended to supplement the added expense of studio materials and books. The following students were recipients of this year’s Rising Black Designers Micro-Scholarships:

  • D’Ali Roberts, Masters, University of New Mexico
  • Nejla Harris, Masters, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Auriel Lewis, Bachelors, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Uthman Olowa, Masters, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Cassius Palacio, Bachelors, University of Southern California
  • Alysia Williams, Bachelors, Mississippi State University
  • Charlotte Potin, Bachelors, Catholic University of America
  • Isabelle Ndoumy-Kouakou, Masters, Rice University
  • Derrick Seegars, Bachelors, New York City College of Technology
  • Kyra Brown, Bachelors, Syracuse University

The Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge reflects Gensler’s commitment to fostering diverse design talent. Applicants must be enrolled in architecture programs within the U.S. Gensler’s breadth of practice area expertise and its inclusive professional environment provide selected design students with an opportunity to expand their core competencies and broaden their understanding of how the power design can create transformative change.

Applications for the 2023 Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge will launch in the fall of 2022. To be considered, students must have a letter of recommendation from the dean of their school and submit work representative of their best design skills.

For more information about the Gensler scholarships program, please visit gensler.com/scholarships or email .

Meet all of our Gensler Scholarship recipients watch the winners’ video submissions.

About Gensler
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 53 locations and more than 7,000 professionals networked across the Americas, Europe, Greater China, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Founded in 1965, the firm works globally with more than 4,000 clients across more than 29 practice areas spanning the work, lifestyle, community, and health sectors. We are guided by our mission to create a better world through the power of design, and the source of our strength is our people. By leveraging our diversity of ideas, our research and innovation, our shared values, and our One-Firm Firm culture, we are working seamlessly as a borderless firm in 140 countries and making the greatest impact on our communities as we continue to tackle the world’s challenges.

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